Monday, July 21, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Bacteria could zap zebra mussels

RESEARCHERS discovered a bacteria that destroys the digestive system of zebra and quagga mussels, like the ones shown above.  Tahoe Tribune file photo

By
From page A2 | January 31, 2011 |

By Matthew Renta

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The recent discovery of a bacteria that can kill zebra and quagga mussels has raised hopes for private and public organizations fighting to control the environmentally hazardous species.

New York State Museum researchers Daniel Molloy and Denise Mayer discovered a bacteria strain — Pseudomonas fluorescens — that can kill zebra and quagga mussels without killing other native species in the ecosystem.

“The ‘eureka moment’ did not come, interestingly enough, when we discovered the bacteria could kill zebra and quagga mussels, but came when we discovered the lack of sensitivity among non-target species,” Mayer said in a phone interview.

Scientists have found plenty of agents capable of killing the mussels, but in most instances they’ve also killed everything else in an ecosystem, Mayer said.

P. fluorescens infiltrates and destroys the mussels’ digestive system. Mayer and Molloy exposed fish, native mussels, waterfowl and other species to the bacteria and found they were unaffected.

“Our tests show the bacteria kills 100 percent of the target specimens when exposed,” Mayer said.

Dead cells of the strain are equally lethal as live cells, proving the mussels died from a natural toxin found in the strain’s cells — not from a bacterial infection, Mayer and Molloy also discovered.

“This is very significant because it means future commercial formulations will contain dead cells, further reducing environmental concerns,” Mayer said.

Commercial formulations

Marrone Bio Innovations, based in Davis, is in the process of getting federal approval of the first commercial formula using the bacteria discovered by Mayer and Molloy.

Zequanox — the name of the product that combines P. fluorescens with other naturally occurring ingredients such as sugar — could be approved in the first quarter of 2011, with sales commencing later in the year, said CEO and founder of the company Pam Marrone.

“We’ve been working on Zequanox for the past five years,” Marrone said. “We’ve had to find a way to grow it large-scale, commercial size, so customers could use it.”

Marrone tested the formula with Power Generation, a Canadian power supply company, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The tests determined Zequanox can kill mussel populations attached to pipes and other industrial material.

Marrone has begun testing to learn whether the product could be used in open-water scenarios. In a quarry infested with zebra mussels, Zequanox showed “some effect,” Marrone said.

Marrone would also need to identify an application device that could deliver Zequanox to infestation sites in open water.

“There is some precedence for that type of device, as people have used similar devices to treat water for algae or bacteria,” she said.

A different company would most likely be tasked with formulating such, Marrone said.

Local implications

Quagga and zebra mussels have not entered Lake Tahoe. In the past three years the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency implemented a lakewide boat inspection program in an effort to prevent aquatic invasive species from entering into the waters of Lake Tahoe.

The recent discovery of P. fluorescens is “encouraging,” said Ted Thayer, manager of the agency’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program.

“It’s exciting to have the tools available should the lake have an introduction (of non-native mussels),” he said.

However, Thayer pointed out the inspection program is designed to prevent a variety of species from entering the lake, including noxious weeds and other invertebrates.

Furthermore, Zequanox has yet to be successfully applied to open-water situations, Thayer said.

“It would be great if they can perfect it to the point where it could be used in a place like Lake Tahoe, but right now, there is no change to our inspection program,” he said.


Comments

comments

.

News

P’ville hires Camino superintendent

By News Release | From Page: B1

 
Heard over the back fence: Public swim times announced

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

 
Highway 50 collision fatal

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

IRS unveils Taxpayer Bill of Rights

By News Release | From Page: B1

 
EDH community unites to patch up historic barn

By Mike Roberts | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Stay connected through sheriff

By El Dorado County Sheriff's Office | From Page: B1

 
Bird tests positive for West Nile

By Ross Branch | From Page: A1

County gets partial refund on promotional event

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A3

 
Jeepers expo Wednesday in Georgetown

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A3

Help SWR with squirrel babies

By Sierra Wildlife Rescue | From Page: A9

 
.

Opinion

Different place, different priorities

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
California rambling: Giving cities a pass

By John Poimiroo | From Page: A4 | Gallery

The rural life: Save the day: Neuter and spay

By Jennifer Forsberg Meyer | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

A thank you note

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Prada belongs in Berkeley

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Ready for Hillary?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
Fukushima

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Diamond Springs Firefighters Union is corrupt

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
100+ years and thanks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

.

Sports

Valley View Sports Park

By Julie Samrick | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Under the Scoreboard: July 20, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Schedule: July 21-26

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
Becker slips by in wild KWS finish

By Gary Thomas | From Page: A6

Sports Scene: July 20, 2014

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A6

 
Roundup: July 20, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Season over for Post 119

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Sophia Barden wins strut title

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A7

.

Prospecting

How to safely help a horse

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Railroad Museum offers a fun ‘History Happy Hour’

By California State Railroad Museum | From Page: B4

 
As we were: Money for home repairs

By Ken Deibert | From Page: B4

Volunteer kitchen help needed in EDH

By Health and Human Services Agency | From Page: B10

 
Marshall Medical Center to host day of fitness and fun

By Marshall Medical | From Page: B10

 
Kids parade for free admission to the fair

By Amador County Fair | From Page: B10

.

Essentials

Crime Log: July 6-8

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Jerry Grant Young Jr.

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Kathryn Noreen Nolan

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Betty Ellene Hock

By Contributor | From Page: A2Comments are off for this post

 
Douglas J. Beam

By Contributor | From Page: A2

.

Real Estate

.

Comics

Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Sukodu

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8

American Profile Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Tuesday, July 22, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Horoscope, Monday, July 21, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8